Learn the Modes in 10 Minutes or Less - With Kevin Goetz

The modes really aren't as complicated as people make them out to be.

Ultimate Guitar
Hey, guys! Kevin Goetz here again.

Today, I've got a nice, easy lesson for anyone who finds themselves struggling to understand the modes. People tend to obscure the simplicity of the modes behind a wall of unnecessarily complex ideas, which makes them very daunting for beginners and even intermediate and advanced players to learn.

This lesson uses a combination of mnemonic devices and simple three-note-per-string, two-octave scale shapes to teach you each of the seven modes in under ten minutes, in a way that you will truly remember and understand. For those who are more interested in theory and fretboard memorization, this method also provides a solid introduction to those topics as well.


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About the Author:
Kevin Goetz is a music teacher by trade, with a focus on empowering students with the skills and knowledge needed to make a living as a musician. This includes everything from technique, to songwriting, to marketing, to audio engineering, to even the mentalities necessary for success.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I have to say that the one thing most people do when teaching modes that bothers me, and is corrected here, is the comparisons. The lesson showing all the modes played in one key instead of what I see most often, using the relative modes and switching the key to do so, really does help a lot to hear what makes each individual mode special. I have to watch the other video to see how well that portion is taught, but I think this wasn't a bad introduction.
    Sadly the other video is a bit all over the place and does not clearly let one know how to use the modes in a productive musical manner. It needed more time and a clearer pattern of thought imo.
    I really felt like that would have been too slippery of a slope into the kind of over-complication that ruins modes for a lot of people. It really is as simple as "move over." That concept honestly could have been taught in those two words and nothing more. But out of curiosity, what would you have liked to see to make it more clear?
    Sorry if this sucks, I'm only available on my phone right now and cannot even directly reply.First of all, what you do well you do really well in that video, but I think it could have been more of a how the boxes connect and also the notes that you start on can make the difference kind of deal.You mention these concepts but I feel like a few more minutes on each would really drive the point home."Starting on e is an ionian-play it- starting on the F sharp is a dorian-play through it etc etc etc"- and say something like see how far we traveled down the neck? Its all int he key of e. you can now play the key of e everywhere instead of one box shape.To really make them shine as a mode we have to do some chord work, and thats for a different lesson. Like one video showing the shapes and the other the links between the shapes, which again was mentioned but I feel never really driven home clearly. Thanks for reading!
    Thanks for the suggestions! I might be able to even squeeze one more video out of this concept in order to better elaborate. I appreciate your thoughts.
    if you play the 3rd shape (as its often referred to ) of the diatonic scale over a 1 chord , you sound phrygian .. that makes people think no matter what , in this position you are in the phrygian mode ... if you change the chord you no longer sound phrygian ..